Coming to the conclusion that a divorce is the best thing for you and your spouse can be a long, hard process. It can be incredibly difficult to decide to end a marriage, especially if children are involved. It is never a good idea to make hasty or irrational decisions when filing for divorce-- take your time and ensure that you have a plan before legally filing for a dissolution of marriage. Prior to filing for divorce, consider doing the following things:
Get a Clear Picture of Your Financial Situation
Married couples typically have extremely enmeshed finances, and it is essential to have a clear picture of the current financial state that you and your spouse are in. This includes accounting for both shared assets as well as shared debts. Carefully review credit card statements, bank statements, current mortgage statements on properties, and any documentation that involves retirement accounts or any stocks and bonds that the two of you own together. After analyzing your joint finances you will better understand what assets will need to be split between the two of you, and what debts you may be responsible for.
Consult a Divorce Attorney
It is never a good idea to file for divorce before consulting a divorce attorney. Divorce is a hard process, so it is worth your time to meet with several divorce attorneys in your area before hiring the one whom you trust the most and feel most comfortable with. Luckily, most divorce lawyers offer complimentary or very low-cost consultations so it will not be a financial hardship to consult a few that you are interested in working with.
Your divorce attorney can explain what you can expect during the divorce process, and provide more information about division of assets, child custody agreements, and child support. Working with a lawyer can also help prevent you from making big mistakes, such as emptying out the joint bank account or changing the locks on a home that you and your spouse jointly own.
Create a Realistic Budget
Your finances are likely to change dramatically after a divorce, and it is important to plan for that. If you and your spouse both work full-time, you will have to learn how to pay all of the bills on one income, and if you were a stay at home parent you will need to figure out how to generate an income that can support yourself and your family. Creating a detailed post-budget in advance can be incredibly helpful, and also prevent severe financial problems after your divorce is finalized.
For more information, consider contacting an attorney like Mira Staggers White.